Note — There have been a ton of rumors and speculation regarding the HEAVEN & HELL project featuring the members Black Sabbath during the DIO years. Below is an update that should provide some insight into what is happening.
From Joe Siegler:
November 25, 2006
Roundup of Heaven & Hell stuff
In the last 24 hours, there was a major piece of “news” released by Eddie Trunk. Eddie is a pretty respected rock journalist. He’s seen on VH1 Classic, has his own radio show, website, etc, etc, etc. What’s cool is that he appears to have access to info that most of us do not, and isn’t a “just talk about Paranoid” type of Black Sabbath fan. :)
Anyway, here’s a summary of what he talked about on his radio show (thanks to Petoria000 for the summary):
- Its not being called Black Sabbath because it was Tony’s decision. He said that because Sabbath was recently entered into the Hall Of Fame, Tony didn’t want to confuse anyone whos not familiar with Dio-Sabbath, and go touring with this Ozzy-less lineup. He also said it wouldn’t be right to the name Black Sabbath (I’m kinda paraphrasing that last sentence, but it was something like that). The name change has nothing to do with Ozzy or pressure from Sharon Osbourne.
- Tony Iommi owns the name Black Sabbath. No one else has a share in the name. Its him and him alone.
- Black Sabbath: The Dio Years will NOT be a box set. It will be a single disc release containing tracks from Heaven And Hell, Mob Rules, and Dehumanizer. Live Evil was not mentioned.
- Tony, Geezer, and Dio have written three new songs. One is a fast song, one is midtempo, and one is slow. They will be picking two for the release.
- The drummer for this band is still “unknown”. Bill was not present at this interview, and was not mentioned during it either. Eddie Trunk speculated it may be Vinny Appice, but nothing is known for sure.
- Tony Iommi wants to start playing LONGER SETS. He told Eddie Trunk he is excited to start touring with this band, and is eager to play shows around two hours long.
- Heaven And Hell will be touring the UK, USA, and Canada. No other countries were mentioned.
- The Dio Years album will be released in February 2007. Heaven And Hell will begin touring soon after.
I want to address this stuff, as I’ve been innundated by emails since it was first posted (on Eddie’s blog and at Blabbermouth).
Of the points above, #1 is mostly old news, although the slant about “confusion” is an odd one. If you REALLY wanted to avoid confusion, then don’t use the Black Sabbath name on the album, either.
#2, #4, #5, #6 are all old news. Nothing new there.
#3 is a big one. I had heard rumours that the “box set” was being reduced to two discs (on the order of 2002’s “Symptom of the Universe” set. The fact that it’s been further reduced to just ONE disc is new. And somewhat troubling. I was under the impression we were getting “Black Box II”. Now granted, ANYTHING can change between now and release, but this has been referred to as a “box set” for awhile now. I would hope it remains that way, although the reasons given could be justified, if not agreed with.
#7 is news; not a huge surprise though. I think everyone sort of expected that.
#8 is news, although still a rumour. I haven’t heard anything about a release date yet.
Now having said all that, let’s examine a few things:
FACT: Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, & Ronnie James Dio have had this press release on their respective websites for a few weeks now.
The highly anticipated reunion of Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward appears to be shaping up and taking a new form. After various promoters have approached their respective management; the guys have started taking all of this very seriously, as they have wanted to reunite for some time now. It looks as if the new shape may be that of Heaven and Hell – that’s the moniker that the band is likely to use on their new venture. If all goes well, Heaven and Hell should be hitting the road in early 2007.
SPECULATION: Now that press release is the same on all their sites, so it’s official. It does mention Bill Ward. Now Bill Ward (whom in the matter of full disclosure I work for and do his site) has not put that announcement on his site. Does that mean he’s not in? Don’t know – I have asked for clarification from Bill and his people on that, and have not received it. Ronnie, Bill, & Geezer all mention Bill as being in, yet Bill hasn’t said so.
RUMOUR: In the last week or so there’s been rumours all over the place that Vinny Appice is doing the Heaven & Hell tour, and is laying down the “new” tracks.
FACT: Yet, we can’t find any sort of official confirmation of Vinny’s participation or Bill’s non participation on any of their respective websites, including Vinny’s.
SPECULATION: Given there’s been no formal announcement of Vinny’s participation at this point, and the last official announcement on the matter says Bill was participating, we have to accept THAT as fact until something else is announced. Can it still shake down that way? Of course, but that’s not the official word at this time as told to me.
So that leaves us with this:
FACT: There will be some sort of release, “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years”, which will likely contain two newly recorded tracks written by Tony & Ronnie. The band on these was said to be the Heaven & Hell lineup (although no word on keyboards).
RUMOUR: Bill Ward is out – Vinny Appice is in. We shall see.
RUMOUR: The “box set” has been reduced to a single disc to be released in Feb 2007.
Believe me – I’d love to come to you and say what is really happening. I do not know. Eddie Trunk’s story seems fairly believable, and certain parts of it seem good. Some do not. At this point, we have to go with facts, and a lot of the stories surrounding Black Sabbath, “Heaven & Hell”, and the new recordings this past week or so have been very talked about rumour, but at this point, that’s all they are. Rumour.
When I can get my hands on some official news, believe me, I’ll bring it to you.
PERSONAL SPECULATION: If the set does get reduced to a single disc, I hope we eventually DO get a “Black Box II”, and that this single disc is a precursor to Black Box II like the “Symptom” set from 2002 was to “Black Box”. These albums should get the same kind of sonic upgrade that the original albums did. Rumour was that record company pressure is forcing this to a single disc. Do these people forget how well Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules sold in the early 80’s? There’s a shitload of Sab fans out there who have been clamoring for a sonic upgrade to these albums, and if we lose that upgrade due to record company pressure, well, then “middle finger” from me.
Do the Dio years justice, and release a proper box set with all the albums upgraded, the Live Evil video included, as well as including all the oddball tracks from this era that are floating around.
On the plus side, a two hour show by the H&H/MR era of Black Sabbath most definitely is something to look forward to! :)
Just don’t offer to open for Ozzy again, OK?
P.S. Sorry for the ramble here, I just get worked up when I see rumours accepted as fact without any sort of official announcement.
November 26, 2006
Bill Ward is officially out of the Heaven & Hell project
I got an email from Bill Ward’s people to place on Bill’s site, and I wanted to alert people to it here as well. Bill Ward will not be on the new tracks for the Black Sabbath: The Dio years disc, nor will he participate in the “Heaven & Hell” tour next year. It looks like the Vinny Appice story is true, based on what Bill says below. Here is the full statement as it appears at billward.com:
Bill Ward today announced that he will not be recording new tracks for the “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years” CD or playing drums on the “Heaven & Hell” tour.”I realize there has been some speculation as to whether or not I am participating in the Heaven & Hell project,” said Ward. “I want to confirm that I will not be involved in either the recordings for the upcoming CD or the subsequent tour. I want to wish the guys Tony, Geezer, Ronnie, and Vinny – much success for the coming year.”
No further statements are available at this time.
I can also confirm that the Black Sabbath: The Dio Years release will be a single disc release – I got confirmation of that earlier this morning from my band sources. No word yet on what tracks will be on it, or whether the Feb 2007 release is confirmed – that’s all still in flux.